They call a double play in baseball “turning two” which is poetic and beautiful. And, that is what a double play is.
It is often a ballet, seemingly effortless, but dependent upon practice, instinct, poise, and power. If you’re lucky, it will also include a pirouette.
Double plays can make brilliant poetry.
These are the saddest of possible words:
“Tinker to Evers to Chance.”
Trio of bear cubs, and fleeter than birds,
Tinker and Evers and Chance.
Ruthlessly pricking our gonfalon bubble,
Making a Giant hit into a double.
Words that are heavy with nothing but trouble:
“Tinker to Evers to Chance.”
~ Franklin Pierce Adams, New York Evening Mail, 1910
(Oh, go ahead, look up “gonfalon.” I’ll wait.)
The trio of shortstop Joe Tinker, second baseman Johnny Evers, and first baseman Frank Chance played together for the Chicago Cubs from 1902 to 1912.
Don’t let it trouble you that Tinker and Evers admittedly hated each other, once got into a vicious fist-fight on the field, and didn’t speak to each other for several seasons.
And, don’t let it trouble you that they didn’t “invent” the double play … or turn a record number … or were even particularly good at it. Just accept that some folks become legends because of good writing or good timing.
Dickey Pearce, who played in the 1860s and 70s, is thought to have turned the roving “short field” position into the more territorial shortstop position that we know today, and, in doing so, may have invented, or developed, or, at least, refined the double play.
Public Domain image.
Dickey Pearce is the one in the back. Dig those uniforms!
Historian Brian McKenna believes that Pearce’s double plays included intentionally dropping routine fly balls, allowing for easy outs as the runners on base hesitated while waiting to tag up. He is why we have the infield fly rule today.
(Dickey Pearce also invented the bunt, so he is kind of, sort of the Thomas Edison of early baseball.)
Turning two can lead to amazing baseball.
Whether it’s like this …
Or, like this,
(Oh, look, it’s old reliable Nick Markakis.)
A double play and a deke!
Or (especially) like this …
(We win! We win!)
The double play is my favorite thing in baseball, unless my team is batting.
In 1949, the Philadelphia Athletics turned 217 in a single season, the most ever.
The Baltimore Orioles have “turned two” 107 times this season, leading all of baseball, and are on pace for 175.
This is both a testament to the Orioles’ defensive abilities and an admission that one can’t “turn two” unless one has already put at least one on.
And, speaking of “turning two” …
This blog turns two this week.
In the past two years I have churned out 118 posts. This is slightly more than one a week which surprises me, since I should be doing useful things each week like cleaning out the basement and resealing the kitchen countertop.
But, apparently, I am not doing those things. I am doing these blog things.
That you have stopped by to read this (when you probably should be cleaning out your basement and resealing your kitchen countertop) is quite kind of you. Thank you.
WordPress says that “tens of thousands” of blogs are created here every day.
People who count these sorts of things estimate that the vast majority of those blogs will be abandoned within one month.
So, I’m feeling rather sassy about my 118 posts.
When I was in fifth grade I decided I would be a writer. At the time, I just wanted to write about tigers.
I regularly wore out the ribbon of my dad’s typewriter until my folks got me my own typewriter for my 12th birthday (manual), another one for my high school graduation (electric), and a third for my college graduation (a strange Tron-like thing that I still have, but never used; I didn’t have the heart to tell my mom that no one was really using typewriters anymore).
I ran out of tiger storylines somewhere around junior high. Then I decided I would be the next Dorothy Parker. I went through a Eudora Welty phase. And, then I decided to become a girl Thomas Boswell.
I am none of those.
But, I am also not an abandoned blog.
For my blog’s birthday, I got my blog its very own domain: www.thebaseballbloggess.com
This is not to suggest that I am THE Baseball Bloggess, although I am because I have the URL to prove it.
It is mainly because my friends who travel goose my stats by checking my blog from exotic, far-off places like Brazil, Croatia, Nepal, Pakistan, and Tunisia, and so I have been known to say that I am a “world famous baseball bloggess,” even though I am not.
But, I like to write. And, I like to write about baseball. Occasionally, Yoga. But, mostly, baseball.
Here’s to “turning two.”
A special thank you to my occasionally irascible, but always wonderful, Editor/Husband who watches baseball with me, and really, truly does read and edit these posts, and makes them infinitely better (most of the time). If I screw up a fact or mess up on grammar, it’s my fault, not his.